Cement Company cries foul –Over port land
From John Bediako, Tema
Greenview International Limited, a cement bagging company at Tema is claiming it has been shortchanged in a land deal it reportedly entered into with COCOBOD, over a parcel of land situated at the Tema Port.
On-going investigations The Chronicle is conducting from the port community revealed that in early 2000, in a bid to end the monopoly enjoyed by GHACEM in the distribution of cement in the country, Nigerian business magnet Dangote showed interest to setup a cement bagging plant here.
Environmental challenges were cited when the sod-cutting took place close to the COCOBOD research plant. Residents of Tema Community ‘Two’, led by engineer Mr. Francis Tuyee, kicked against siting the plant close to the community and the COCOBOD research laboratory, which finding they argued was going to be contaminated.
COCOBOD also advanced its protest against the location of the plant, but later agreed with the Dangote group to relocate the research plant before they could establish their factory. Greenview International, the Dangote group, went ahead to pay $500,000 to COCOBOD about five years ago.
Meanwhile, the land on which the laboratory was situated was a lease from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA). The Chronicle investigations has meanwhile revealed that earlier, GPHA notified the cocoa company of its intention not to renew the lease agreement when it expired, and as such made provision for COCOBOD at Djata-Bu near Community ‘Three’, to house the laboratory just like the new Cocoa sheds.
WILMAR Africa, a Malaysian vegetable oil giant, attempted to establish its refinery on a land near the fishing harbor, but met resistance from the youth, and so GPHA decided to offer the oil company a new place. The only land available was to the west of the laboratory and so it was given to WILMAR Africa who are currently constructing the vegetable oil refinery.
An appeal was made by WILMAR Africa to GPHA for a bigger land to accommodate its flour mill, but the closest was the COCOBOD laboratory which lease was expiring. Now Greenview International want to put up permanent office block on the said land to vacate from its current temporary containerized administrative structure, but that cannot be done because GPHA has leased the land to WILMAR Africa.
STUDY TOUR OF INSTALLATIONS AND FACILITIES OF WILMAR INTERNATIONAL AND PORT OF SINGAPORE
On 7th February 2011, Director-General, Mr. Nestor P. Galley signed a letter to the Managing Director of WILMAR AFRICA LTD. and stated that in August 2010, the office of the Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority proposed to visit your company and the Port of Singapore with the Board of Directors and Management staff.
However, the visit could not materialize at the time. We are renewing our request for the proposed visit to take place during the last week of February 2011, or anytime convenient to both parties.
GPHA is governed by an eleven (11) member Board of Directors appointed by the Government of Ghana in 2009. The members of the Board have different professional backgrounds, some of which are not maritime industry related.
The objective of the visit, therefore, was to enable the Board members to familiarize themselves with Wilmar’s operations and activities at the Port of Singapore. “Of particular interest to the Board will be the industries of Wilmar Company as a result of your decision to establish an edible oil industrial complex in the Port of Tema.”
Our information is that Sector Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda and the GPHA entire board, led by its chairman, Alhaji Abukari Sumani, and some technocrats at the authority made the trip.
Negotiation for the extra land was reportedly concluded during the trip. Again on December 7th 2011, Mr. Galley signed another letter captioned OFFER OF LAND – PLOT NO. 23, TEMA PORT, and stated that: “we refer to your application for extra land for Flour Processing Plant and do hereby forward to you Site Plan No. TM/PL1/101 dated 7th December, 2011, showing a developed plot of an approximate size of 16,296m2 or 4.026 acres which the Authority is prepared to lease to you on the following terms and conditions.”
TEAM: 25 years with option to renew for further 25 years. COMMENCEMENT: Date of Agreement or date “Right of Entry” is granted, whichever is earlier. RENT: Cedi equivalent of US$48,900.00 (forty-eight thousand, nine hundred United States Dollars per annum payable yearly in advance and subject to renew every three (3) years. PAYMENT FOR EXISTING DEVELOPMENT: The existing development comprises the following buildings with their indicative superficial areas based on external measurements which are to be paid for.
They are Laboratory Block, 59.50m x 15.80m – 940.102, Canteen Block 32.20m x 10.00m 322.00m2, Reinforced Concrete Roofed Carport for twelve (12) cars, Sandcrete Block Fence wall (510.77m linear length).
The existing structures have been valued at a total of Three Thousand United States Dollars (US$300.000.00). It is desirable that the capital value be paid as a one-time payment instead of being annualized into annual rent payment.
USER/DEVELOPMENT: For development of a Flour and Food Processing Plant and related users. DEVELOPMENT AND ADMIN. CHARGES: You will be required to pay a non refundable development charge of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢5,000.00) and an administrative charge of One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,000.00) on acceptance of this offer. BUILDING: Your Company will not erect any building or buildings on the plot without prior approval in writing of our General Manager, Engineering Services.The Authority reserves the right in insisting that building do comply with specific designs. Development should commence within twelve (12) months and be completed within three (3) years from the date of this offer. PROPERTY RATE/TAXES: Your Company will be responsible for the payment of all out-goings, e.g. property rate and taxes that may be imposed on the property during the currency of the lease. INSURANCE: You will keep all structures on the Premises insured against fire with an insurance company of good repute in the full value thereof and deposit a copy of the policy together with the receipt of year’s premium payment with the Authority. These provisional proposals are subject to the necessary agreement being drawn up and on that understanding, we shall be glad if you will communicate in writing to us your acceptance or otherwise of the above offer.
WILMAR AFRICA LTD on 7th March, 2012, per Faima Alimohamed signed and addressed a letter to the Ports Authority and enclosed Stanbic Bank, Accra Main branch cheque for $48,900 dollars to represent one year payment as demanded by the authority.
The letter states, we refer to your letter dated 1st February, 2012 under reference GM-EST/HQ/WILMAR/V.1/045 and your letter dated 7th December, 2011 under reference GM-EST/HQ/WILMAR/V.1/344. We are pleased that our request for land at Tema Port has received a favourable consideration and would like to thank you.
We accept your offer and the modifications in the terms and conditions are made. Please find enclosed cheque for $48,900 (Forty Eight thousand nine hundred United States Dollar) as the rentals for the first year. We will pay the balance amount for the 50 years lease as soon as the current tenant vacates the premises and handover the premises to GPHA.
We would like to begin the work on the site as soon as possible and, therefore, would request GPHA to ensure that the current tenant vacates the site at the earliest.
The Chronicle contacted COCOBOD head office and its Chief Executive Mr. Tony Fofie, confirmed that his outfit actually received the $500,000 from Greenview International.
According to him, no one can tell the basis on which the amount $500,000 was arrived at considering the fact that there was no feasibility studies before the money was transferred into COCOBOD account.
Lamenting, the Chief Executive said that if that amount paid is not enough, then it means that COCOBOD has to cough the balance in order to complete the project.
Mr. Fofie went on to say that even the leasehold of that piece of land has expired and that GPHA already wrote to COCOBOD to vacate the property by the 1st of October, 2012, which they are complying with.
Fortunately, according to him, COCOBOD has engaged a consultant for the construction of the new research laboratory to be built at DJATA-BU Community 3, Tema, and that he is expected to present a recommendation for the project.
He went on to say that until the project is completed COCOBOD is relocating its laboratory equipment to one of its facilities. The GPHA’s Director-General, Richard A.Y. Anamoo, confirmed to the Chronicle that a letter has been dispatched to COCOBOD to vacate the property and that the authority after possessing the land will determine what to use it for.
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=47838